In an exclusive interview with Héctor Cotes, the president of the Panamanian Businesses Association (APEDE), Panama Today got first hand his opinion about the current situation in the country. Mr. Cotes spoke openly about the positive outcome of the current TLC with China for Panamanian businesses, but he thinks it must continue in the next government to look after Panamanian interests. " China's TLC opens an opportunity that is not going to end with this government. As a country, we need to understand what are we going to do, where we want to go with this, because these negotiations are not going to finish in the next year and can generate indeed opportunities to all sectors in the country", Cotes mentioned, whom also was part of the negotiations table of this treaty.
"Inside APEDE, we consider that the most important thing in the last days of the current government, they finish and complete all the promises and projects that are doing, they need to separate the political aspect and the political characters in the current political scene, if we can somehow talk about what is happening now, and be separated from the government to who is coming next as the new government can work", expressed Héctor Cotes regarding the upcoming presidential political campaign.
Regarding the projections of the economic growth this year, at the beginning of 2018 was pointing to a 5.6% growth, but he highlighted that they think it will grow less than a 5%, less than the projections predicted.
He also talked about the adjustment of the minimum wage and the one month strike in the construction sector were key factors to contribute to affect the year economical projections "900 million of dollars are the losses to the construction sector, and also for that the consequences affected to the commerce, transport and other sectors that are almost impossible to calculate their losses.
For APEDE, the foreign investments, that generated five billion of dollars, go by the hand with the institutional stability " A business environment where the institutions are not neccesarily working in common and harmony, is taking us to challenges where we nee to adjust it because since we are not having internal savings, we depend on external and foreign investors", quoted Cotes.
The president of APEDE thinks that is needed a change in the constitution to have a sustainable growth in the country " We need a reform in our constitution, we have to review the mechanism but before that we need to understand what we really want to change about it, and that debate we did not have it yet", he concluded.